St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315 – 386)
The Witness of Creation
For what fault have they (the heretics and pagans) to find with the vast harmony of God? They who ought to have been struck with amazement on beholding the vaultings of the heavens: they, who ought to have worshiped Him Who reared the sky as a dome, Who formed the stable substance of heaven. …
Is there not cause to wonder when one looks at the constitution of the sun? … See also how the days alternately respond each to the other in due order in summer increasing and in winter decreasing…. For the heretics who have no ears, they all but cry aloud, and by their good order say, that there is none other God save the Creator who hath set them their bounds, and laid out the order of the Universe.
~ Catechetical Lectures IX:5-6 In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. VII. Ed. Philip Schaff. Republished A&C Black, 1980, p. 52.
To Understand Creation, Know its Creator
Is not the Artificer (or Creator) worthy the rather to be glorified? And for what purpose? If you do not know the nature of all things, do the things that have been made forthwith become useless? Can you know the purpose and efficacy of all the herbs? Or can you learn the good and service which resides in every animal? Do you know that even from venomous adders (poisonous snakes) have come antidotes for the preservation of men. But some of you will say to me, “the snake is terrible.” Fear the Lord and it shall not be able to hurt you.
Or you may say, “the lion is a blood-thirsty creature.” Fear the Lord, and he shall lie down beside you, as he did alongside of Daniel. But truly wonderful are the actions of the animals: how some, such as the scorpion, have sharpness in their sting; and others have power in their teeth; and others do battle with their claws…. So then from this varied workmanship, understand the Creator’s power.
~ Catechetical Lectures IX.14. In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. VII. Ed. Philip Schaff. Republished A&C Black, 1980, p. 54.
In Wisdom hast Thou Made Them All
My discussion has left out many things, and especially left out things incorporeal and invisible, that you may abhor those who blaspheme the wise and good Artificer, and from what is spoken and read, and whatever you can discover or conceive, from the greatness and beauty of the creatures, you may proportionately see the Maker of them. And bending the knee with godly reverence to the Maker of the worlds, the worlds of sense and thought, both visible and invisible, you may with a single and holy tongue, with unwearied lips and heart, praise God, and say how wonderful are thy works, O Lord; in wisdom hast thou made them all.
~ Catechetical Lectures IX.16. In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. VII. Ed. Philip Schaff. Republished A&C Black, 1980, p. 56.
God Creates All Parts of Creation
Let no one tolerate anyone who says that God is the Creator of the light, but another is the creator of darkness. For let him remember how Isaiah says, “I am the God who made the light, and created darkness…” Let us not then admit the evil thought that another is the Maker of darkness, for experience shows that this also is good and useful.
~ Catechetical Lectures IX.7. In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. VII. Ed. Philip Schaff. Republished A&C Black, 1980, p. 52.
One of the Eastern Fathers, a Metropolitan (Archbishop) of Jerusalem and author of a series of lectures on the Christian sacraments and instructions for catechumens, St. Cyril lived in a time of great theological conflicts. He was banished three times for his theological views and went through great trials for his personal integrity. He was once condemned by the Arians for selling church property to feed the poor. He attended the Council of Constantinople and helped develop the Nicene Creed and the concept of “homoousios” which identifies the unity inherent in Christ’s spiritual-physical nature. His writings about creation are characterized by their emphasis upon physical nature as a window into the Divine Nature.
God and Creation
There is then only one God, Maker of souls and bodies; One Creator of heaven and earth, the Maker of angels and archangels…. This Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not circumscribed in any place, nor is He less than the heavens; but the heavens are the works of His fingers, and the whole world is held in His grasp: He is in all things and around all things.
~ Catechetical Lecture IV, Section I.4-5. In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. VII. Ed. Philip Schaff. Republished A&C Black, 1980, p. 20.
Perceiving the Divine through the Creatures
The Divine Nature is impossible to see with eyes of flesh: but from the works, which are Divine, it is possible to attain to some conception of His power, according to Solomon, who says, “For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionately the Maker of them is seen” (Wisdom 13:5). For God appears the greater to every man in proportion as he has grasped a larger survey of the creatures: and when his heart is lifted up by that larger survey, he gains withal a greater conception of God.
~ Catechetical Lectures IX.2. In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. VII. Ed. Philip Schaff. Republished A&C Black, 1980, p. 51.
To Restrain Defilement of Creation
Enter within yourself, and from within your own nature consider the Author of creation. What is there to find fault with in the framing of this body? Be master of yourself, and nothing evil shall proceed out from any of your members…. The members are not the cause of sin, but they who use their members amiss; and the Maker thereof is wise.
~ Catechetical Lectures IX.15. In Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. VII. Ed. Philip Schaff. Republished A&C Black, 1980, p. 50.
The Holy Spirit and Creation
For He [the Holy Spirit] is the supremely Great Power, divine and unsearchable, living and rational, and it belongs to Him to sanctify all things that were made by God through Christ…. It is the Holy Spirit who knows the mysteries, searching all things, even the depths of God…. For there is one God… one Lord… and one Holy Spirit who has power to sanctify and deify all, who spoke in the Law and the Prophets, in the Old and New Testament alike.
~ Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 82.